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Carabao Cup: Manchester United vs Burnley

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Manchester United vs Burnley: Wed 21st Dec, 8:00pm

Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has been quick to make it clear he is not at Manchester City anymore and says the fourth-round League Cup tie is a north-west derby.

Kompany, a City legend, is carving out a pretty useful career as a head coach, as he attempts to make Wednesday’s tie about Burnley. 

His men have been in good form this season and Kompany is eager to measure exactly where they are after relegation from the top flight last season.

The Belgian has overhauled the Clarets’ style of play and he has guided them to the top of the Championship table and real hope of returning to the Premier League at the first attempt.

Kompany has overseen Burnley to eight wins in their last nine games and they have scored three times in each of their last four fixtures. 

Two of those games – 3-1 win at QPR and 3-0 home win over Middlesbrough – were while United were kicking their heels watching the World Cup.

The Clarets’ 4-2-3-1 formation has served them well to date and they will be backed by 7,000 travelling fans at Old Trafford.

There is certainly the prospect of a shock in the air in front of the Sky Sports cameras with United inactive since November 13.

Erik ten Hag has had the opportunity to work with his players on the training ground for over a month, but with 13 away on World Cup duty, it’s hard to say how valuable that will have been for his first XI. 

Two friendly games ended in defeat. United lost 1-0 to Real Betis and lost 4-2 to Cadiz, with a number of young players afforded opportunities.

Anthony Martial did also get game time as he works his way back to fitness, while Jadon Sancho continued his individual training programme away from the squad.

Ten Hag’s focus from now on will be on finishing in the top four and they were just three points away from that target before the winter break. His team selection will be interesting with a league game against Nottingham Forest on December 27 on the agenda soon after.

Just how many of his players that featured in Qatar will be selected against Burnley remains to be seen, but United look set for a tough return to action on home soil.

They look way too short at 1/3 against a side who could well be back amongst the big guns next May. 

Burnley do have a recent win on their record at Old Trafford too. Jay Rodriguez, who will likely lead the line on Wednesday, scored as the Clarets won 2-0 in the Premier League in January 2020. And a repeat of that is not totally out of the question given United’s time off.

They are sure to be ring rusty and it could well be a patched-up team of youngsters and fringe players. Still, United have been solid at home and have kept clean sheets against West Ham, Spurs and Newcastle in their last three home games.

So let’s go for Burnley DNB and get our money back if the game is a draw.

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